I live in Alaska, and because I haven’t had TV for the past year, and because Alaska is not a battleground state, I’ve not been barraged with political ads. We recently buckled and installed satellite tv, so we’re once again plugged in (as much as we choose to be) to current social culture, as offered by the plethora of available channels. Mostly, we don’t watch, or we watch movies. I still prefer to get my news from internet sites. The beauty of internet is that I can read in-depth pieces on the topics I find interesting, rather than depending on headlines that feed on drama. And I avoid the really depressing flow of celebrity-itis.
But I’ll be tuned in tonight as polls begin to close. I can’t resist the front row seating to our national story as we add the next chapter, written by everyone who is eligible, and cares enough to vote. As citizens, we get to write the first line of the chapter. Where it goes after today will depend on the outcome of our choices: whom we select as the winner, and the many twists and turns that will occur in the coming four years.
Of course I have a preference. But beyond my personal point of view, beyond my personal voice in the election, I desperately hope that those who take opinion and passion to vicious levels, to hateful personal attacks, threats and lies, will stop. I hope that win or lose, we all step back and recognize that no good can come of gridlock, and demonizing those with whom we disagree. I’m appalled and saddened by some of the extremes I’ve heard of in this election cycle. And I think we, the voting citizens of this country, should commit, regardless of party affiliation, to throwing out elected officials who demonstrate that they are not capable of working with those in opposition parties. We do not have the luxury of sitting on our hands in this economy, and with the political issues which are swirling throughout the world. If someone is elected to make a difference, and spends their time in office refusing to reach across the aisle, then we should help them to exit, and move on to someone who will reach out.
On national election days, you get a real sense of national community. Not national unity, certainly not that! As a country, at least according to polls, we’re pretty evenly divided. But we’re still all part of one big community. And there’s something heartening about a group leap across the line of decision. I get an image of everyone joining hands and stepping across a chasm. We hold hands, even if there are some of us that would prefer not to have to reach out. The system forces a a level of cooperation to accomplish the task of choosing.
Tonight, after I’ve voted, I’ll sit up, watching the results, listening to the projections, and drinking it all in. Some years have been more fun than others, and this evening will likely be a late one. But this is one drama I enjoy, all the more exciting because I have a stake in the outcome.
So here’s to politics, to exercising our right to vote and to speak. And here’s hoping that however things turn out, at the end of the day, we’ll be big enough to accept, to move forward and play nice. May the voting be fair, and fairly counted. May we be good citizens, regardless of party affiliation. May we do our part to maintain our national freedoms. And God bless us, every one. God bless America!
“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” ~ Winston Churchill